Shortly after Kate Middleton gave birth to a baby boy, Prince William released a statement. "We could not be happier," the Duke of Cambridge said. It was short. It was sweet. It may have been the defacto statement everybody goes to, but it's the god's honest truth. Those moments after you have a child, it really is impossible to be any happier. There's not a doubt in my mind that, right now, both Will and Kate are more elated than they've ever been (yes, more elated than at their wedding). But for Will, there also is a small part of this joyous time that's that tinged with sadness, because his mother, Princess Diana, isn't here to experience the biggest moment of his life with him.
Having a baby after you've lost a parent is a funny thing. In some respects, I actually think it makes you a better mother or father, because you know first hand how fleeting life is. You don't need everyone telling you: "Enjoy it. It'll be over in the blink of an eye." You know it. Because it seems like just yesterday that you were playing with your mother or father in the backyard, or having lunch with them, or casually chatting about how you were thinking of cutting your hair. Then poof. They were gone.
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But in other respects, it sucks. Hard. You finally get it. You understand what being a parent is all about. The things your parents did and said to you make complete sense now, and you understand just how much you were loved -- and you almost can't believe it, because I mean, you knew your parents loved you, but that much? Really? How flattering.
You want to turn to your parents after you have a kid of your own and thank them. Or if that's not your style, at least exchange a knowing glance. Welcome to the club. After you came into the picture, they rearranged their entire lives around you, and that was awfully nice of them. You didn't realize all the things they had swirling around in their head over the years -- the fears, the anxieties, the joy, the love -- because they were so damn good at just being your mom or dad. You now know that it was part of their job to keep these things from you, but wow. It's impressive. They were awfully good actors.
I get what Will is going through right now, really I do. It's a whirlwind of emotions, and for anybody out there going through the same thing, take solace in the fact that, yes, there is much more joy than sorrow when you have a baby without a parent. But every once in a while, when you're holding your sleeping baby in your arms, you'll think of your mom or dad, and you'll quietly cry.
Did you lose a parent?
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